Denisovans and Neanderthals Lived (Together?) In A Siberian Cave

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The Denisovans and the Neanderthals are both our ancestors. However, we didn’t know so far that they used to live together as well. Two new studies discovered that an isolated Siberian cave was the home for both Neanderthals and Denisovans, and they appeared to live together as well.

More than that, it appears that the cave also sheltered hominins. For those who do not know, this groups includes our cousins like chimps, our direct ancestors and even humans themselves. The cave was used as a home for more than 300,000 years which his truly impressive.

Analyzing the evidence

In order to get to these results, researchers analyzed both DNA and fossils. “We had to invent some new methods to date the deepest and oldest deposits and construct a robust chronology for the sediments in Denisova Cave,” study co-researcher Bo Li, an associate professor at the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

They soon discovered that Neanderthals lived there between 190,000 and 100,000 years ago, while the Denisovans lived there from 200,000 to 50,000 years ago. It becomes obvious that at some point they lived together as well.

The cave is located at the foot of the Altai Mountains which are located in Siberia. However, while their research does provide a lot of answers, it leads to many questions as well. For example: “do the human fossils derive from human occupations or from, say, carnivore activity, and have they been transported far from their original depositional location?” asked study researcher Chris Stringer, a research leader of human origins at London’s Natural History Museum. In order to resolve all the questions, more research is needed. Hopefully, in the future we will have a chance to learn even more about our ancestors.


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